Cooperstown Central School, Regents Diploma;SUNY Oneonta, BA in History with a minor in Economics, BS and MS in Social Science Education; NYS Real Estate Brokers License with over 225 hours of Continuing Education credits; NYS Professional Coaching License with over 120 hours of Continuing Education credits
Owner/Operator of 300-acre organic farm (1983-present), NYS Real Estate Broker (1995-present), CCS Girls Varsity Softball Coach (2001-present).
Town of MIddlefield: Zoning Board of Appeals (2 years), Town Board (2 years), Town Supervisor (24 years). Otsego County Board of Representatives (2016 – present)
Member of the Board of Directors of The Farmers’ Museum and of the Otsego Land Trust; Member of Cooperstown Rotary Club, Rotary International Youth Exchange (host family and youth counselor).
American Legion Baseball, Cooperstown Sports Booster Club, Youth soccer and baseball, Fetterman Award Winner, Oneonta Daily Star and Utica Observer-Dispatch Coach of the Year Awards.
Married 34 years to my wife Kim, a teacher in Richfield Springs Central School. Three adult children: Rachel, Eric and Ethan, and one granddaughter.
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:
As Abraham Lincoln said “The legitimate object of government is to do for people what needs to be done, things that they cannot do for themselves: the making and maintaining roads and bridges, providing for the helpless, providing schools, and the forming and maintaining of the military, police, and civil departments.” I believe in doing so we provide everyone the opportunity for personal liberty and economic success.
MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:
Investing in our infrastructure including roads, bridges, communications and high speed internet. In the past two years we have made significant progress and the foundation has been put in place to continue at an even more rapid pace. We need to complete the process of determining the duties and responsibilities of a county manager and fill the position. Although many NY counties have a manager/executive, research shows their duties and authority vary greatly. We need to find the right fit for Otsego County. Reroute XNG trucks so they travel Interstate Highways to the fullest extent possible. Continue to look for ways to save money through shared services, a process that has saved the county tens of thousands of dollars in the past year. Addressing the opioid epidemic.
My well documented record of public service has been one of honesty, fairness, transparency, open communication, low taxes, investment in people and infrastructure, as well as environmental stewardship. I keep an open mind on issues and listen to all sides without confrontation, therefore I have excelled at building bipartisan consensus to better serve residents. As a result, I have been endorsed by leading members of the Republican, Democrat and Independence parties.
As with any job, there is a steep learning curve for a someone new. I was better prepared than most because of my 24 years as Middlefield Town Supervisor. In my short tenure on the board I have spent time listening to, and learning from, our county employees and department heads as well as town and county board representatives, gaining their trust, confidence and support. I have been tagged as the quiet leader of bipartisan reform by the Freeman’s Journal newspaper. We have a great deal of talent in our county and we have made significant progress in just 21 months. More importantly, the foundation has been put in place for further progress at an accelerated rate. I ask for your continued support to implement these programs for your benefit.
COOPERSTOWN – A breakthrough has been agreed to in the case of county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr.’s son Ros, a correctional officer at the county jail who has been under suspension since January 2017.
The sheriff has agreed to recuse himself under Section 72 of state Civil Service law, which will allow county board Chairman David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, to order a medical examination of the son, Bliss confirmed a few minutes ago.
The examination could determine whether the younger Devlin can return to work, or could open the way for his eventual dismissal.
She was nominated and elected temporary chair of the reorganizational meeting, presiding over the transition of the chairmanship from Kathy Clark, R-Otego, to David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield.
And she emerged from the morning’s decision-making as chair of the Administration Committee – Ways & Means, through which all resolutions must flow before getting to the floor of the monthly county board meeting.
COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Board of Representatives this morning elected David Bliss, the former Middlefield town supervisor just elected to his second term, to be its chairman this year.
The vote was 10 “ayes,” two absentions, one absence, and a single “nay” from Kathy Clark, R-Otego, the chair Bliss replaced.
Unanimously, the reps then appointed Democrat Gary Koutnik, the veteran representative from the City of Oneonta, as the vice chair.
The absent county rep was Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, who departs as board vice chair. It was said he had to take his wife to the hospital.
The pairing of a Republican chair with Democratic vice chair is unusual but not unprecedented: Republican Sam Dubben and the late Rich Murphy, a Democrat, shared the leadership in 2010; and Republican Don Linberg was chair and Ron Feldstein vice chair in 2007.
BURLINGTON – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation cut the ribbon this morning on the revamped Basswood Pond State Forest recreational area. The $100,000 project added several features to the site, while making the pond fully accessible to handicapped visitors.
“With the completion of these new accessible features, visitors with mobility impairments can enjoy the natural beauty and recreational opportunities at Basswood Pond,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.
“These improvements, through Governor Cuomo’s Adventure NY initiative, are just a sample of the recreational upgrades that New York has underway to better serve everyone who wants to enjoy our state’s great outdoors,” he said.
First, voters should want a county sheriff who’s steady under fire.
Over the past 15 months, county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. has proved he is.
With his son Ros, a guard at the county jail, accused in a workplace disturbance and ordered off county property by the county Board of Representatives, Devlin hung tough, arguing he was the target of a
“political witch hunt.”
That didn’t seem completely out of the question when it surfaced that allies of county Board chair Kathy Clark’s husband were sounding out Democrats to see if they would endorse a sheriff’s run by her husband, retiring state trooper Bob Fernandez – first reported in these newspapers in March 2017.
Second, voters should want the county’s top law-enforcement
officer to have a strategic mind.
Now, Sheriff Devlin is showing he does.
With Fernandez challenging him in the Nov. 6 election, Devlin approached the more even-handed county board chairman, David Bliss, who succeeded Kathy Clark, and agreed to resign his son’s fate to an even-handed application of Civil Service law. Going into the fall election with the issue unresolved would have been folly.
This is no endorsement of the incumbent. Bob Fernandez has some baggage, but he does bring an impressive resume and an engaging personality to the race.
Still, Sheriff Devlin has shown resilience under fire and a strategic mind in opening the way to a fair resolution to what must be a personally anguishing situation, qualities anyone would certainly want in the county’s leading law-enforcement officer.
COOPERSTOWN – After a 15-month standoff, Ros Devlin’s fate as a correctional officer is now in the hands of the chairman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives.
With one abstention and two absences, the county reps voted a few minutes ago to accept Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr.’s proposal to turn over authority for investigating and possibly removing his son from his job to county board Chair David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Otsego.
In a short discussion, county Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, first thanked Bliss for moving matters forward, but he asked the county labor attorney, Matt Ryan, “Does this get us where we need to be?”
In a press release sent out this morning, Otsego County Director of 911 Communications Robert O’Brien announced that the county’s 911 dispatch department had secured $842,330 in New York State grant funding. The total sum is divided between two seperate grants: $157,687 under the New York State Public Safety Answering Points Operation Grant Program for upgrades to the call center, and $684,650.00 under the New York State Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant Program which will be used to build three additional communications towers to improve coverage for the dispatchers.